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ninjacolin's avatar

How can you teach a dog to chew food rather than just swallow?

Asked by ninjacolin (13741 points ) December 28th, 2009

Got a big dog here (golden retriever, age 4 i think) who doesn’t seem to believe in chewing his meals. He just inhales and asks for more. I suspect he gets only a small chance to savor the meal before it’s gone down his throat.

I remember the dog I had growing up who would chew a piece of chicken despite his excitement. This dog here, however, just gulp and gone! It’s slightly disturbing to observe. Right now, I swear he has a whole chicken leg in his stomach unchewed.

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25 Answers

anguilla's avatar

I think it’s in dogs’ nature not to chew very much. “Savor” isn’t printed very large in a dog’s dictionary. Your current dog is,I think, much more typical than your growing-up dog.

ninjacolin's avatar

but more flavor via the savor is what he really wants. he would be happier if only he knew!
there has to be a way to teach him!

ninjacolin's avatar

what if we had a piece of chicken on a string and we forced him to keep chewing it and we wouldn’t let him swallow.. so, he’d be experiencing the flavor.. and of course “good boy”-ing him while he chews..

then when he goes back to inhaling afterwards.. he ought to know there’s a difference… right?

gailcalled's avatar

Why do you want to reprogram his essential dogginess? Think of how you might feel if the tables were reversed.

ninjacolin's avatar

well, sympathy is how this all started! I want him to learn the experience of chewing and savoring so that he has a “choice” as per se: two different ways to deal with food. then he would make his own doggy-choice once he knows the two options.

Likeradar's avatar

Their jaws are set up for tearing, not chewing. It’s a dog. Be happy with it being what it is.

Dog's avatar

Your dog is happy.
That is all that matters really.

rooeytoo's avatar

The only concern is sometimes dogs who inhale their food are more prone to bloat. So if you want to slow down the inhalation (not necessarily make him chew) you can spread the food around on a newspaper (well you can do that if you feed dry kibble) or there are bowls available with stuff built into them designed to slow the dog down. If you are interested, I will hunt for a site that shows them.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

By example??lol!-That’s the nature of the beast :)

Grisaille's avatar

You’re anthropomorphizing him. He’s a dog.

mcbealer's avatar

I have a weimaraner who finishes her dinner in 30 seconds flat. There are practical reasons for getting them to slow down, like minimizing the risk of bloat. As far as savoring the meal though, you’ll never get that to happen since most dogs, although domesticated, continue to see food on a competitive/survival/must have it all basis.

To slow your dog down, try:
1. Raising his bowl up if it isn’t already so that it’s approximately at the same height as his chest. Here is an example of one of the bowl stations available.
2. You can place an object in the center of his bowl, thereby forcing him to have to eat around it. One of the most commonly used objects for this method is to place a heavy toy such as a kong in the center, or an upside down glass.

janbb's avatar

@Dog Said by one hwo should knw!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Jesus… start him off with some nice hors d’oeuvres, like meatballs on toothpicks. Taking out the toothpicks may slow him down.

Give him a bowl of soup and some crackers. He’ll have trouble opening the crackers, and that might get him talking while he works on that.

Get him a nice bordeaux wine; or is it chablis that dogs like. Oh, gosh… I didn’t even think to ask—are you serving meat, fish or poultry? What a faux pas it would be to serve him red wine and fish! (I blush to think of it now.)

Or… here’s a thought… you could let him be a dogdamn DOG.

ninjacolin's avatar

lol, some of you guys have no experimental spirit!

HighShaman's avatar

You need to realize that he is a DOG ; and no matter what YOU do or TRY to Do ..he is still a DOG and will eat however HE likes….

You might try sitting in front of him and keep showing him how to chew ..if he is a Extremely Smart dog .. he might start to copy You , and chew his food .. Then again; he might NOT.

ninjacolin's avatar

oh come now.. shawman.. i thought you worked for the secret service or something.. you’ve gotta know some ways to make this dog do whatever I want. stop holding out!

Buttonstc's avatar

Are you familiar with the phrase “wolfing down his food” used to describe dogs eating habits ?

Three guesses where that came from ?

Yes, that’s right. ALL dogs are descended from wolves. If you’ve forgotten that, go do some reading to brush up.

They eat that way for one simple reason. Survival of the fittest. The one who eats the fastest gets the most food. Thev one who gets the most food grows to be bigger and stronger and better able to resist disease and predators.

They haven’t evolved enough to realize that now that they’ve convinced humans to feed them, they can relax and savor the food.

It’s all about survival. Your dog is a wolf in golden retriever disguise. Survival.

ninjacolin's avatar

nay sayers.. this place is full of em!

Dog's avatar

If it is possible to train a dog to have a treat on his nose then one could use that learned “wait” training for placing treats in the dogs mouth.
However it would be tricky, require a lot of patience and very likely a LOT of food.

rooeytoo's avatar

Dogs don’t all swallow their food whole. It is often a trait of the runt of the litter who always had to fight for position and grab it while they can. Sometimes it is as a result of a bitch who did not have sufficient milk for all the pups so they grew up hungry. Or as youngsters if there was not enough food to go around, or they were strays for a while they had to eat before someone bigger came along.

In and of itself it is not a great problem but as it was said above, this can often lead to air swallowing which can in turn lead to bloat which unless treated by a vet usually with surgery can kill the dog.

randomness's avatar

Uhh… you do realize that this is a dog, right?? It isn’t a food critic. It doesn’t need to savor the flavours of it’s food….

And besides, would YOU want to savor the flavour of dog food? Go ahead, try some dog food. Imagine that this is what you have to eat. Do you want to chew it slowly and taste it all, or do you want to swallow it quickly and pretend that it’s something else?

Exactly.

downtide's avatar

Dogs can’t actually chew at all, at least not in the way that humans do. They don’t have molars. Their teeth are made for slicing and tearing.

mcbealer's avatar

@downtide ~ actually, dogs do have molars

downtide's avatar

@mcbealer but they’re not the same shape as humans molars, they don’t have a flat surface for grinding/chewing. They have a single sharp edge for cutting.

rooeytoo's avatar

My dogs chew bones. Bones don’t slice or tear real easily???

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